13 Oct September Reads | 4 Short Reviews
Well. September flew by.
As much as I love September’s not quite summer, not quite Autumn vibes and temperate weather, I’m pretty thrilled that it’s October. Autumn-y vibes are finally getting fully under way and it won’t be long til I have my trusty woolly hat and scarves out again. And also, Halloween, duh. The BEST part of the year.
One of my new year’s resolutions for 2016 was simply to read more. Well actually that’s pretty much my resolution every year to be honest. Buuut, this year I feel like I finally really put that into practice!
I’m by no means a fast reader, in fact I’d say I’m quite a slow reader. That became very obvious to me during my English degree when I discovered I cannot in fact read whole novels the night before a tutorial class.
Anyway, I’m aiming to read about four books a month nowadays. And I’m getting super close to completing my Goodreads Reading Challenge of thirty books in a year! I know that isn’t a lot really but it’s a lot for me who could be reading the same book for a month or two. I’m not like that anymore though, PROMISE.
So, as I feel like I got through some pretty cool reads in September I thought I’d have a recap and do four mini reviews (in no particular order) of my September reads and hopefully give you some readspiration (Hm. Doesn’t really roll off the tongue does it?)
September also marks the month where I properly delved into reading GRAPHIC NOVELS after much urging from my comic book obsessed boyfriend. So I have a couple of cool suggestions in that department.
1. Paper Girls, Vol 1 – Bryan K Vaughan/Cliff Chiang
Have you watched Stranger Things? If you haven’t then you should because it is GREAT. But I’m not going to gush about how much I love Stranger Things right now. Basically I found Paper Girls through an article my boyfriend sent me. It was a list of graphic novels to read if you finished Stranger Things & wanted something to fill that Stranger Things hole in your life and OH MAN I was having some real withdrawal symptoms when I finished Stranger Things.
Paper Girls was perfect to fill this – jam packed with 80’s fashion and 80’s references. Set in suburban small town America, (in the early hours of HALLOWEEN) twelve year old paper girl Erin gets up to start her paper deliveries. She meets a trio of other paper girls and they decide to stick together for their deliveries what with it being Halloween and what not, smart girls.
However, the evening doesn’t go too smoothly and some disturbing occurrences go down to say the least – trick or treaters seemingly frozen to the spot, strange noises in the sky, strange masked men who seem to speak a strange language. It’s all pretty bizarre.
All in all it’s great. The artwork is all in shades of light blues, purples and pinks which really conveys the feeling of the early dark morning slowly starting to lighten. It’s also nostalgic as hell and centres around this cool group of girls. What’s not to love? It’s over extremely quickly though and you’ll really want volume 2 immediately. This is my only issue with graphic novels, you can power through them too quickly.
2. Harrow County, Vol 1 – Cullen Bunn/Tyler Crook
This was the second recommendation I took from the Stranger Things list. It wasn’t perhaps as Stranger Things-esque as Paper Girls but it was completely up my alley what with it being pretty horror orientated and centralised around witchcraft.
Harrow County, Countless Haints is set on a farm in southern America (Well I presumed this from the repeated use of the word “ain’t” oh and “haint” means ghost in Southern American dialect, wasn’t aware of this before). Our protagonist, Emmy, lives with her father and helps out on the farm. This is pretty much all she has ever known. However, as she approaches her eighteenth birthday she starts to have some pretty disturbing nightmares about the woods surrounding her home. She has always felt sure it’s been filled with monsters. Little did she know how she was connected to these woods.
3. North American Lake Monsters – Nathan Ballingrud
A really disturbing little collection of stories. What’s disturbing about them isn’t really any sort of supernatural threat, the stories are haunted more by the human spirit and what it can be capable of in certain circumstances. Rather than scary malevolent creatures, it is the humans that take these stories to dark places and make them truly terrifying. My particular favourite was The Good Husband. It’s the last story. I thought I’d made it through the whole book without feeling really scared but NOPE this last story makes sure that isn’t a possibility. Gets under your skin and makes you feel pretty nauseous. Awesome collection of stories though, can’t recommend it enough for any horror fans. It also has a super creepy front cover which I love.
4. Eureka Street – Robern McLiam Wilson
Alright. Admittedly I’ve thrown a bit of curveball with this one. Up until this point I’ve had horror orientated choices but nope bit of 1990’s Belfast for ya now. Suppose that can be considered horrific in many ways.
As you may know, I am from and live in Belfast. I’m sure that you also know Belfast has a pretty troubled past. We’re pretty much famous for it. Eureka Street is set in the six months before and after the latest ceasefires. It’s written in two perspectives which I found interesting Catholic Jake Jackson and Protestant Chuckie Lurgan. It follows these two men as they chart all too familiar (for me) land, walking through the various areas of Belfast, meeting up for pints with the lads having the craic while elements of “the troubles” carry on. “Sometimes, Belfast looked like the past, remote or recent, the confident Protestant past. I couldn’t see how any of its fires would cease.”
One thing this novel did inspire in me was a renewed interest in Belfast and its history, the stories the streets so familiar to me, my relatives, friends and ancestors could tell. “The city’s surface is thick with its living citizens. Its earth is richly sown with its many dead. The city is a repository of narratives, of stories. Present tense, past tense or future. The city is a novel.”